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£14 Billion Gap in Public Investment to Meet Post-COVID Green Recovery

£14 Billion Gap In Public Investment To Meet Post-COVID Green Recovery
29 June 2020 | Updated 30 June 2020

Analysis from Green Alliance suggests that the UK’s infrastructure pipeline is “incompatible” with the government’s long-term climate targets. 

The biggest investment gap, of £8.7bn per year, is in low carbon transport. 

The report, “Blueprint for a Resilient Economy”, analyses latest government data and concludes that “all decisions made at this point must resist the short-sightedness of returning to business as usual” and urgently prioritise the UK’s long term resilience to future crises.


“The UK is imminently facing public spending decisions that will shape our economy and society for decades to come. It is vital that we take account of the long term risks to the UK when doing that.”

–Joanna Furtado

Policy Adviser, Green Alliance 


“We Can’t Shift to Electric Vehicles Fast Enough to Meet Carbon Budgets”


Green Alliance estimates there is a gap of £14.1bn in annual public investment to 2023 in the new low carbon transport, buildings, natural capital and industry infrastructure required in the UK. 

The UK government is estimated to have spent £9bn supporting new high carbon transport infrastructure since 2017, and it has confirmed it will spend another £27bn over the next five years on 4,000 miles of new roads.

But this new research suggests that, even with the current 2035 phase-out date for petrol and diesel cars, we can’t shift to electric vehicles fast enough to meet carbon budgets.


New Housing Projects


Since 2017 the government is estimated to have invested nearly £9bn to support new housing projects, with an additional £1.5bn worth of investment to support housing projects expected in 2020.

The scrapping of the zero-carbon homes standard in 2015 means most of these new homes are not net-zero compatible by default, locking in future costs and carbon.


Shifted Priorities Post-COVID


Green Alliance’s report proposes that it would now make economic sense for the spending earmarked for new roads to be redirected to rebuilding a stronger, greener economy.

It points out that this strategy would also provide new, varied employment opportunities across the UK. 

Green Alliance policy adviser Joanna Furtado commented: “The UK is imminently facing public spending decisions that will shape our economy and society for decades to come. It is vital that we take account of the long term risks to the UK when doing that.”

Anthony Browne MP and Chair of the All-Party Parliament Group on the Environment added:

“There is no doubt that we stand at a crossroads in the history of our nation. With the economy facing a historic challenge over the coming weeks and months, I believe that putting climate-friendly infrastructure at the heart of the recovery efforts is vital to building a more resilient and prosperous UK. 

“Today’s report shows what would be possible with leadership from the top of government, I hope we start to see the green shoots of a low-carbon recovery in the very near future.”


One in Ten Jobs at Risk Without a Green Recovery on Skills 


Additionally, UK100, a network of local government leaders, is calling on the government to commit to a “New Deal for Green Skills and Growth” in their forthcoming stimulus package, alongside a major push on infrastructure investment, public transport and retrofitting homes.

The group of 24 Mayors and local leaders, representing 25 million people across the country have pledged to shift to 100% clean energy by 2050. 

Their research shows that 2,177,601 jobs (one in ten) will need reskilling in the economy, while 1,849,686 will be more in demand from employers based on existing skills.

On average, each parliamentary constituency has 4,097 jobs that need reskilling - with the largest number in the Cities of London & Westminster, where over 102,000 jobs are potentially impacted.

UK100 says that their “New Deal for Green Skills and Growth” would provide the necessary skills and training to enable workers to adapt to the transition to net-zero by 2050.

An initial economic stimulus package is due to be announced imminently by the government. 


Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 29 June 2020


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